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September 27, 2021

In a special session starting Monday, it hopes to decide if it ratifies the compact by Wednesday

Florida Legislature discussing sports betting, gambling expansion deal with Seminoles

Florida Legislature discussing sports betting, gambling expansion deal with Seminoles
The Florida Legislature has scheduled a week to consider the compact, but hopes to complete its work as soon as Wednesday.
United States | 05/17/2021

The gaming compact would make Florida the largest US state to legalize sports betting, and the tribe would be the exclusive operator of the digital sportsbooks for the next 30 years. It would also be allowed to build three more casinos, and introduce craps and roulette at its seven existing casinos.

F

lorida legislators are set to hold a special session Monday to discuss a new 30-year gaming compact between the state and the Seminole Tribe that would expand gambling and make it the largest US state to legalize sports betting.

The deal would give the US third most populous state at least $2.5 billion over the first five years and at least $6 billion from the tribe by 2030, the Associated Press reports. State officials say the pact would create 2,200 new jobs.

If the Legislature ratifies the agreement reached last month by the Tribe and Gov. Ron DeSantis, the Seminoles would be allowed to offer sports gambling at their casinos in South Florida and near Tampa. The tribe will also be allowed to introduce craps and roulette at its seven casinos, including the Hard Rock near Fort Lauderdale. And it would allow the tribe to add three additional facilities within its Hollywood Reservation.

The legislative body has scheduled a week to consider the compact, but hopes to complete its work as soon as Wednesday. It also must be approved by the Seminole tribal council and the U.S. Department of the Interior, which oversees tribal gambling operations.

The deal faces opposition from some business groups and legislative conservatives who object to expanding gambling on moral grounds and because of concerns over increased crime. Miami billionaire Norman Braman has vowed to challenge the compact in court if it is approved by the Legislature, arguing that elements of the compact would violate a 2018 initiative that put restrictions on the expansion of casino-style gambling.

The Seminoles have used gaming profits to pays its 4,100 members more than $100,000 annually and owns the Hard Rock brand worldwide.

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